How is trend following a bit like the Billy Idol song, "Dancing With Myself"? Michael Covel explains the importance of maintaining an independent spirit, feeling comfortable standing alone and outside the crowd and being your own self. Covel contrasts this to the famous scene in "American Psycho" where a group of executives compare the card stock and fancy presentation of their business cards trying to impress one another. That's the complete opposite of what "Dancing With Myself" gets at. Worry about yourself, not the crowd. Covel then quotes hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry. Hendry holds himself out in public as coming from a fundamental perspective, even though his hero is trend trader Bruce Kovner, who was trained by Michael Marcus, who was trained by Ed Seykota (all trend following traders). You get the picture. Hendry honestly states that he doesn't know what's going to happen, but he puts himself in the position to have probabilistic bets that can profit when the market moves--in whatever direction. Covel moves on to quote David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager. What will the Fed do if the bubble bursts when interest rates are at zero? Is Covel, in quoting Einhorn, trying to predict the future by talking about this subject? He's simply mapping out what he sees: A world that's rigged and manipulated, and a Federal Reserve that's trying to make its buddies at the big banks wealthy. In the midst of this how can you protect yourself and profit? The only way you can truly protect yourself is by looking at the price in the here and now from a trend following perspective. You can make decisions based on the price movement without having any idea what the Fed is doing behind the curtain. There is no certainty. There's only chaos, uncertainty, fractures, and cracks in the sidewalk. You have to have a plan before that fracture breaks. Although traders like Einhorn, Hendry, and John Hussman might not be trend following traders themselves, their observations certainly make the case for employing a trend following strategy. Special Offer? Free trend following DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks with Peter Brandt, author of "Diary of a Professional Commodity Trader: Lessons from 21 Weeks of Real Trading", and a trader who has been in the commodity trading space since 1976. He's traded his own proprietary account from the late 1970's until today, and is currently entering the hedge fund world by running a multi-CTA fund-of-funds. Brandt got his start in Chicago trading commodities and working at the Chicago Board of Trade for Continental Grain Company. Along the way he jumped from approach to approach until he found the book "Technical Analysis of Stock Trends" by Edwards and MaGee, and became a classical chartist. However, after leaving Continental Grain in the early 1980's he suffered a traumatic accident falling from seventeen feet onto a concrete slab while sleepwalking. Brandt suffered neurological and physical damage which affects him today, but he calls this tragedy a blessing. Covel and Brandt talk about how the accident influenced his trading and how great lessons can be learned through adversity. Covel and Brandt also discuss the idea of trading a five minute chart pattern vs. a weekly chart pattern; the biggest mistakes you can make as a novice trader; averaging a loser; risk management and the right amount to risk on any trade; upside volatility and the fantasy of a straight line up of profit gwoth; and the importance of reducing the incessant head chatter and living in the moment of now. There are some real commonalities between Brandt's approach and trend following, including the basic foundations of risk management and the importance of price. Brandt and Covel get to the bottom of their respective approaches, and explore how to find the best system for yourself. Special offers including a free DVD go to: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks about "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Covel defends studying the book as a psychological manifesto for "navigating the trend following waters". Halfway through the book Covel realized how it sounded like all the trend following traders he's studied over the past fifteen years (even if it wasn't the author's intention). Covel isn't out to get you to start singing kumbaya and burning incense; he's just out to get you to look at the world differently so you can profit. Covel discusses Cullen Roche, author of the "Pragmatic Capitalism" blog, who posted some quotes from Warren Buffet recently. Covel acknowledges that Buffett is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the history of modern man, but has no problem criticizing the myths that surround him. Buffett noted that Berkshire has $40 billion in cash on hand, but "prices are difficult right now". So, what does that even mean? Why is Buffett on CNBC? He's talking his "book", he's creating the aura, and perhaps confusing people into making decisions based off his advice. Or perhaps he simply needs his ego stroked. So, what do you buy based on that advice? How do you make buy and sell decisions? Trend following doesn't rely on vague statements, and the positive performance dates back to 1903. With trend following price is price. That is an under the radar concept though. Most people simply know Buffett's value investing, buy and hold world. However, there are inherent problems in value investing and Covel investigates by quoting David Rosenberg and John Hussman along the way. From their fundamental perspective Rosenberg and Hussman lay the foundation for trend following without thst being their intention. Covel also goes on to discuss "Finding Peace with Uncertainty" from the Zen Habits blog and announces a new $500 gun shooting video contest. Offer--Would you like a free special DVD: trendfollowing.com/free.html.
Michael Covel opens up with the classic Pink Floyd song, "Brain Damage" and an interview with Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters explaining the composition of the song. Inspired by watching beautiful tufts of grass that were only to be looked at and not stepped on Waters explains the lunacy needed to step out of bounds in society and step on the grass you aren't supposed to. Trend following is all about standing in the middle of the grass and tearing it up to find enlightenment. On the heels of Waters' interview Covel discusses Seth Godin's new video, "Stop Stealing Dreams". Godin explains the number one purpose of school: obedience. Do as you're told and learn to be a cog in a wheel. Do you want to be an interchangeable part or do you want to create art? Waters sings about the lunatics who would dare to walk on the grass they weren't supposed to, and Godin questions the entire system of education. Why do people have such a hard time breaking out and finding a new way of thinking? Covel's analysis of Godin's work might give you some clues. All of this is a lead up to a fantastic white paper called "A Century of Evidence on Trend Following Investing" that tracks trend following performance back to 1903, which Covel discusses in detail. The data to back up trend following as a successful strategy for 110 years is all right here. Special offer free DVD? Go: www.trendfollowing.com/winl.
Michael Covel brings some unexpected trend following messages and inspiration from eclectic and unexpected places. The first comes from Neil Young, his lyrics signifying the ups and downs of life and trading. The important thing is that we're along for the ride: "I've been first and last, look at how the time goes past, but I'm all alone at last, rolling home to you." Covel discusses the unexpected inspiration he's found over the past few weeks leading up to his recent speaking engagement in Las Vegas arranged by Timothy Sykes. As you would expect Covel found some important food for thought on his trip and he shares these eccentric lessons: A pamphlet found in a hotel room from Affliction Clothing; a film called "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" that holds some important messages about passion and practice; a book that Covel received from his Yoga teacher titled "How Yoga Works" that has more to do with trading than you'd ever expect; and the book "Investment Biker: On The Road with Jim Rogers". Covel also discusses a quote from famed trader Larry Hite about how in the big picture nothing really changes. People are people and people are always motivated by greed and fear. A reader questions how high frequency trading and automation work into the equation and Covel answers. Covel also discusses some thoughts from more fundamental thinkers such as Hugh Hendry and John Hussman (and why, whether it is their intention or not, they write great missives about why trend following works). From a strategy perspective how do you follow along and make money in a world where fundamentals don't offer you hope on the timing of things? How can you make money in that world? The answer is trend following. If you don't have trend following in your portfolio what are you missing? Covel also makes a big announcement for a special in-person seminar event in Las Vegas coming up in December. The event includes both of Covel's dinosaur systems (T-Rex and Triceratops), a ton of materials (documents, audio, and video) that are unlikely to ever be released anywhere else, a long Friday night dinner, a full day session on Saturday--everything you need but the airfare. You'll have to make your decision by November 1st for the event on December 7th and 8th. Also a special DVD offer: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks with Frank Curzio of Stansberry and Associates. Curzio is a recognized experts in the small cap sector, the voice behind S&A Investor Radio, as well as the editor of the Small Stock Specialist. Curzio has been featured on numerous radio and television programs, and wrote a newsletter for TheStreet.com before joining Stansberry. Covel and Curzio come at the game from vastly different perspectives on how to make money, with Curzio's small-cap world playing the yin to Covel's systematic, trend following yang. Even with their differences Covel and Curzio find plenty of common ground in their alternative ways of getting to their ultimate goal: to make money. Covel and Curzio talk about Curzio's background coming up in New York, the influence of his father, and his introduction into the world of trading; Curzio's history with Jim Cramer, the info-tainment industry, and separating Cramer the analyst from Cramer the television personality; Stansberry's wide reach in the financial world and Covel's introduction to them through an event at Jekyll Island; how Curzio is still looking for big moves just like any trend following trader; how the "magic hand" of the Fed can affect strategies in both the fundamental and trend following worlds; Curzio's experiences with Jim Rogers, Jeff Macke, and Porter Stansberry; and the drastically different ways in which trends can be dissected. Special offer free DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks with Mark Shore, a trader and educator whose main area of expertise is managed futures. Shore has an MBA from the University of Chicago, was the former head of risk at Octane Research (over a billion AUM), was the former COO of VK Capital (a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley), and now is an adjunct professor at DePaul University teaching the only accredited course on managed futures in the country. Covel talks to Shore about Shore's experience in getting the "a-ha" moments out of his students when teaching managed futures, and how he brings his students into the world of managed futures; how and why those working in the CTA/managed futures/trend following space have a firm grasp on risk management that exceeds the understanding of competitors (i.e. mutual funds); how the term "managed futures" (which refers to the instrument and not the strategy) might be problematic; skewness; drawdowns; why managed futures performance is famous for doing extremely well when chaos unfurls; why the majority of the mutual fund industry hasn't adopted CTA strategies; the issue of survivorship bias; why certain people can't wrap their arms around strategies not based on fundamental analysis; Shore's paper, "Decoding The Myths of Managed Futures"; the emotional elements of trading; and others experiences while working at VK Capital. Would you like a special DVD sent along for free? Go: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel discusses an article titled "21 Ways Rich People Think Differently Than Average People". The word rich may not be the best term here as Covel notes, "being rich or poor doesn't stop you from being a schmuck." Covel makes a more clear distinction between average people and people of high character. He goes through the list and offers commentary on statements such as "average people think money is the root of all evil; rich people believe poverty is the root of all evil." Money, Covel maintains, is just a medium of exchange and that's all it is. It's what you make of it that becomes good or bad. Readers will see that many of the precepts and principles in this article are straight out of Trend Following 101. Further, commentary includes seeing money through the eyes of emotion vs. seeing it logically; following your passion vs. working for the man; setting low expectations vs. challenging yourself; knowing the markets are driven by emotion and greed; being a slave to debt; surviving vs. thriving; education vs. entertainment; finding comfort in uncertainty; and trend follower Larry Hite's concept of asymmetric bets. Next, Covel discusses "An Investor's Guide to Famous Last Words" from The Motley Fool. Covel used to spend time ripping The Motley Fool for pumping buy and hold, and in the end pulls no punches in revealing the author to be a die hard "value" guy (despite agreeing on certain points). Would you like a special offer DVD sent to your home or office? Go: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks for the second time with managed futures expert, editor/writer for Opalesque, and author Mark Melin. Melin has his fingers on the pulse of the nasty things going behind the scenes; specifically, over-the-counter ("OTC") markets and the MF Global scandal. Covel talks to Melin about his recent piece in Opalesque: "The Untold Story: Brooksley Born, Larry Summers & the Truth About Unlimited Risk Potential". Most understand stock and futures exchanges; you can trade in these exchanges and expect a certain amount of regulation and transparency, and people understand the balancing side of the equation. However, the OTC derivatives that Melin has been digging into are completely off the everyone exposed to a possible mega-implosion in the near future. Melin discusses the history of these unregulated derivatives and notes that if the problems that were initially identified by Brooksley Born in 1998 are not properly addressed, the next market catastrophe could be worse than anything that has preceded it. Covel and Melin discuss the possible solutions; if politicians can actually be held accountable if there are no repercussions beyond not being reelected; and how the average American can digest this information and how it affects them. Covel also brings up the idea of the "four political parties": Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Bankers. If you look at it from that perspective can they be defeated? (Covel: "No.") You can't vote the bankers out. Melin contends that if the debt crisis in Europe unfolds banks are going to expose the US government to unlimited loss potential. Covel and Melin go on to discuss how people simply won't listen if the Dow is rigged to keep them happy; why the average person who sees the Dow at a high level today should care about this, and what they can do to protect themselves beyond sitting around and waiting for the sky to fall. Covel is the skeptic and Melin is the optimist in this fiery conversation about how to handle this situation before it implodes. Melin notes: "The Fed cannot prop up the stock market forever. At some point, gravity takes over." Covel believes the die is cast and offers trend following as an "out". Special offer free DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel sometimes feels like he's floating above and looking down like the protagonist in David Bowie's "Space Oddity". In today's episode Covel closes this alienating gap with his explanation of the "lottery society": The idea that you don't have to work--you simply make a small bet of your time and money and your your entire world can change through one single action (even though the odds say there is no chance). We've pushed aside the notion of purposeful, driven, consistent effort and work. You can see the concept of a "lottery society" beyond the notion of buying a scratch-off: the idea that the Presidential election will change your life, reality shows and American Idol's instant fame fantasy and drugs and alcohol as the quick fix. It all sounds well and good, but the lottery mentality doesn't work. It sucks the life out of you. How did we even get to the point where being "picked" has replaced the notion of good, consistent hard work and creating something from scratch? It's the gap between wishing and doing. We're in a fantastic world of distraction and the lottery mentality is a perfect example of that distraction. Covel goes on to explain the parallels between fundamental analysis and the lottery mindset; perspectives on the lottery mindset from writer Seth Godin; the perils of watering down a clear trend following trading strategy with short term trading strategies, fundamental analysis, and media input; and the illusion that tools such as the iPhone make us more productive. Next, Covel notes how many want a hero these days (instead of viewing themselves as heroes). Currently, the "hero de jour" is Ben Bernanke, chairman of The Federal Reserve--except most don't have a grasp why his current rate policy is so problematic. When you have rates artificially reduced to zero it forces people to invest in the stock market. Covel offers commentary regarding current Fed policy by giving context via an exploration of recent tech and real estate bubble histories. As Charles Hugh Smith (www.oftwominds.com) has noted, "If you prop up an artificial economy long enough, does it become real?". Covel gives his personal view of the current situation: You know it's bad, you know it's eventually going to pop, but what do you do? That's the hard question. So how can you profit in the face of such uncertainty? Trend following is the profit answer when the black swan swims in. Special offer: Receive a free DVD here: http://www.trendfollowing.com/win.
"The pleasure is to play, it makes no difference what you say. You win some, lose some, it's all the same to me." Michael Covel opens up with one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all time and notes some unexpected lessons that can be taken from the lyrics. Sticking with the theme of taking trend following inspiration from unexpected places, Covel then goes on to discuss several posts from Zen Habits, a blog that contains lessons from the perspective of Zen Buddhism. Covel discusses "Finding Peace With Uncertainty": "Why is not knowing so scary? If you roll a dice and don’t know what it will be, is that scary? No, it’s not the 'not knowing' that’s the problem it’s the possibility that what comes up on that dice will bring us pain, suffering, loss." Covel relates this to a recent experiment he did that illustrates trend following through the roll of dice. If you get a two or a six, you win three pennies. Any other number, you lose a penny. The two and the six only come up a third of the time, and even though you don't win many of the rolls, the wins are big. The winners, because they're bigger, pay for the losers. That's trend following. So, how do you deal with uncertainty? Extricate yourself from harmful ideas and strategies: lose the small things that have no positive impact on your trading, such as buy & hold strategies, watching CNBC, etc. Know the worst case scenario. Become comfortable with waiting, and stop obsessing on uncertainty. Voltaire said, "We never live; we are always in the expectation of living." That's the goal. It's not the expectation of living--it's the "right now" that's important. In the next section, Covel comments on some trading and life commandments--inspirational reminders that you need to hear, including "The Ten Most Foolish Things a Trader Can Do". Special offer with free DVD: http://www.trendfollowing.com/win.